Patient Education is a critical component of treating patients with buprenorphine products. The respective Medication Guides for each of the buprenorphine products contain important information about the product, including proper administration, potential adverse events, and other precautions. You should review the medication guide with patients for whom you prescribe each buprenorphine product to ensure that they understand the proper use and safety precautions associated with these products.
Communicate the following messages to patients about the risks of accidental overdose, misuse, and abuse:
- Instruct patients to keep these products in a secure place, out of the sight and reach of all others, especially children. Accidental or deliberate ingestion by a child may cause respiratory depression that can result in death. Advise patients to seek medical attention immediately if a child is exposed to one of these products.
- Warn patients that it is extremely dangerous to self-administer non-prescribed benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants (including alcohol) while taking buprenorphine-containing products. Caution patients prescribed benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants to use them only as directed by their prescriber.
- Advise patients never to give these products to anyone else, even if he or she has the same signs and symptoms. They may cause harm or death.
- Advise patients that buprenorphine-containing products contain an opioid that can be a target for people who abuse prescription medications or street drugs. Caution patients to keep their buprenorphine-containing products in a secure and safe place, out of the sight and reach of all others, especially children, and to protect them from theft.
- Advise patients that selling or giving away these products is against the law.
- Discuss with patients the importance of having access to naloxone.
- Use the contents of each BTOD drug product's Medication Guide, in its entirety, with each patient to review the information noted above, including side effects and what to do if a patient has them. The Medication Guide will be dispensed with each prescription for a buprenorphine-containing transmucosal product.
- Encourage patients to seek psychosocial counseling and support for safe and effective treatment.
Additional information for prescribers about safe use conditions and patient monitoring can be found in the Office-Based Buprenorphine Therapy for Opioid Dependence: Important Information for Prescribers and the Warnings and Precautions sections of the product-specific Prescribing Information.